Accordance by OakTree Software is one of those massively powerful programs that causes me to think, “Where to begin?” Let’s start with introductions. Readers, Accordance 8 is a highly flexible and in-depth program for studying the Bible, commentaries, and related reference tools—including maps—with the ability to conduct extraordinarily complex searches. Its functions meet the needs of the layperson up through the scholar starting with simple translation comparisons all the way to delving into the original languages behind the English translations of the text. Those two sentences, however, do not do this program justice. As I have stated in the past, I am a fairly new Mac convert, joining the
cult family in about May 2007 after nearly twenty years of Windows usage since Windows 3.1. Prior to my switch, my Biblical software of choice was the very popular Logos program—particularly the Scholar’s Library. Logos did the job, but I did not find it particularly intuitive—and no matter how useful a program may be once mastered, if mastery becomes a chore, I lose interest and motivation. This is why I remain a mediocre Photoshop user. Although there are a ton of resources and conventions and blah, blah, blah to learn the program, I do not care for any software that requires the time of maintaining a second husband to understand. This fact does, however, have to be balanced with the reality that complex programs do have a learning curve, but a good developer will minimize that curve as much as possible and thoroughly equip the user with tools to quickly navigate that painful period. I am very pleased to report that Accordance has done this with true faithfulness to continuity with the Macintosh GUI. While I had recently learned that Logos is being developed for the Macintosh platform, and my (expensive) license is transferable, unless something has greatly changed with their user interface, I do not anticipate ceasing use of Accordance as my primary Bible study program. Also, I have my doubts that a long-time Windows developer with its attached baggage of Windows butt-ugly navigation experience will be able to create a product with the look and function of a citizen of the Appleverse.
I have also used the free program MacSword as an alternative to the free PC software e-Sword and promptly gave up. It was confusing and aggravating in addition to being very limited in its available resources as compared to its PC counterpart. I have a well-stocked personal library of theological texts; if it is more efficient for me to grab books and conduct research the old-fashioned way, then a particular study program is not for me. Now despite this admittedly glowing introduction, I will now highlight the major features that I have been road-testing and give my frank assessment of each—good and bad. In the interest of full disclosure, the base software and any add-on modules reviewed were given to me gratis from the developer. I hope I have developed a relationship with my readers from my prior reviews to have earned the trust that this does not influence my opinion. In fact, in this case, I had already learned that my Windows Logos license for which I had paid well over $500 could be transferred to a Macintosh license prior to contacting the Accordance developer, so my motivation for requesting the review was not a burning need to try to obtain sophisticated Biblical study software for free.